When my lovely tiger cat Lily came to me many years ago she was feral and quite a fearsome huntress. She soon grew sensitive to my feelings of grief over the death of the small creatures she would bring to the kitchen door as offerings. We developed a very strong telepathic bond and I would have long talks with her about the merits of unconditional love and compassion and she began to calm her natural instincts. In recent years she is well known for her restraint and seldom harms any living thing. On this particular bright yellow fall day however she came rushing into the house with a small bright yellow bird in her mouth. As soon as I sighed "OH, NO", she opened her mouth, dropping the little limp, feathery bundle on the floor at my feet, looking at me in a most remorseful way.
The tiny bird seemed lifeless except for a faintly noticeable heartbeat. Blood dripped from a puncture in its tiny neck. I said a prayer and offered a few drops of water and flower essences from my finger without success. I put the tiny bundle in a straw basket and covered it with towel, just as the phone rang. I hastily placed the basket on a shelf near my desk, and answered the phone, to be greeted by a long absent friend. After a lengthy conversation I hung up the phone and hurried off to run some errands.
When I returned an hour later, and remembered the bird, I expected to find it dead in the basket. I hoped its passing had been as painless as possible. To my surprise, when I uncovered the basket, two tiny bright eyes looked into mine. I picked up the little creature and offered it a few drops of water which, this time, were eagerly accepted. On inspection I found no evidence of blood or the puncture wound that was quite obvious before. The tiny feathers were smooth and perfect looking.
With Lily at my side I took my little feathered friend outside and offered my outstretched hand to the sky. Almost instantly the bird burst away, her golden feathers merging with the gold light of Autumn. When I returned to the house and sat at my desk I realized that the spot I had placed the bird's basket was next to a favorite image of Saint Francis. One tiny yellow feather lay at his feet.